An Argentinian gateway (Paso Socompa)

Up until San Pedro de Atacama, we’d pre planned meticulously. Travel through Chile and Argentina had always seemed more complex and therefore out of laziness we had banished any thought of it into the very back of our minds. It was only in San Pedro that we realized we’d been so careless, and graciously took up refuge in Carlos’ house (Warmshowers) for some much needed research. We ended up staying a week, waiting for a package and reading about various different routes. Riding through northern Chile was immediately ruled out due to the heat. We were left with three crossings over to Argentina. Jama, Sico, and last but not the slightest bit least, Socompa.
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Snow to sweating (Bikepacking the Salkantay Pass)

The Salkantay trail is offered to trekkers as a more challenging alternative to the classic Inca trail. It was a year before our trip began that I first saw Joe Cruz’s blog about bikepacking the Salkantay route. It obviously stuck in my mind. Feeling a bit lazy, Gina and I were torn as to whether or not to burn straight through to Cusco or give it a go. The nice thing about riding a fatty is that it guilt trips you whenever you try and cop out of a challenge. Boring asphalt is wasted rubber.
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New things in Porcelain packaging (2 of 2)

Recently, Dan told me he’d seen a photo of Cass using a custom roll-top framebag from Porcelain Rocket. Without much forethought, we had purchased regular zipped frame bags for our trip. In retrospect, zips are always prone to failure. Extended use, especially on bike bags that you open several times every day, can degrade the zips. I kept having problems with my zip (fraying) and decided to inquire about the custom roll-top frame bags at Porcelain Rocket. Without hesitation, Scott sent one down to me (along with the camera slinger for Dan). Continue reading

Peru’s Great Divide (Huancavelica to Abancay)

I thought it was finished. Take the medicine and the problem goes away, right? Turns out Giardia is pretty complex, and down here it’s developed quite a resistance to the standard treatment of metronidazole.

You can imagine my frustration when I awoke to the familiar symptoms of this terrible parasite worming its way through my stomach. Continue reading

New things in Porcelain packaging (1 of 2)

Since the start of this trip, I’ve been looking for a good dirt friendly camera system. Cyclists running heavier setups have always had a plethora of handlebar bags to choose from. Big and small, for many different types of cameras. Up until now, us dirt roaders have been forced to be fairly creative. I started out using a fabric pocket which attached to my front harness. The camera’s hotshoe wore a hole through the fabric in no time. Since then I’ve been carrying it in my backpack. My only issue with carrying it on my back is its lack of accessibility. Often, by the time the camera is out and ready to shoot, I’ve lost the photo.

About a month ago, Gina got in touch with Scott at Porcelain Rocket with regards to a roll top frame bag. At the same time, she found out that Scott had just finished producing a small batch of “DSLR Slingers”. Without an ounce of hesitation, Scott offered to send Gina and I few bags to try. Today I’ve finally been able to get my hands on the Slinger, and I’ve taken a few photos to show it off. Continue reading

Rajucolta: A bikepacking loop

I’d been looking forward to my arrival in Huaraz, renowned by many off-roaders and adventurer tourers for its proximal location to the Cordillera Blanca. Our ride into Huaraz had us pass through Huascaran national park near Laguna Portuchuelo, and the sheer amount of traffic had left me somewhat disappointed. I had been yearning for the untouched wilderness experience and this wasn’t it. To top off my frustrations, I spent the first week in Huaraz bedridden wih the runs. Discouraged and keen to keep tracking south, I had convinced myself to head off as soon as possible. Luckily, I bumped into Paul Griffiths (http://theridesouth.com/), fellow dirt road adventurer.

Paul suggested an overnighter up to Laguna Rajucolta, so we awoke ready to go, or at least I did. Paul had spent the night before with his head resting on a toilet bowl as a pillow. The following day things looked more positive and we set off in search of adventure. Continue reading

Building up some velocity (the plan is no plan?)

I’ll set the scene, I’ve been on the road for the past three and something years. Aimlessly trying to get my life in order, which hasn’t really worked as I haven’t gotten any closer to “finding myself” or any of that cliche nonsense. Instead, I’ve begun a love affair with long distance hiking, cycling, or any activity where living out of a tent and showering weekly is considered to be “Just great!”. Continue reading